A witness account: In response to an alleged land dispute, two police officers went brandishing guns. A squabble arose between them and two siblings. And they decided to use a firearm. They apparently aimed at a 17-year-old boy, shooting him.
Five hours later, while the boy was still bleeding, they threw him into a vehicle and drove him to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) where they ‘dumped’ him.
That was on October 1, but as of today [Friday], Mike Mwango still lies in his hospital bed after undergoing surgery to remove the two bullets from his body. His facial expression tells he is in dire pain.
“I am scheduled for another surgery anytime soon. I cannot pass stool normally. I am using a pipe that has been fixed in my body,” Mwango said, fighting back tears.
He told Nation on Sunday that when police brought him to the hospital, weak and vomiting blood, the medical personnel asked them if they were going to wait for him, but they gave a blatant ‘no’.
Mwango said the issue was all about a land dispute in Namiyango Township where one family encroached on his family’s land by constructing a house on part of it and the wrangle has been there for a long time.
He said on the fateful day, a lady on the other side reported the matter to police and when the two officers came, they exchanged bitter words with his brother who ran away when the officers wanted to arrest him.
“When the woman who reported the matter to police saw me, she told the officers that I was a brother to the boy who had ran away.
“In no time, I was shot at twice in the buttocks, close to the anus. This is my eighth day here in hospital, nursing these gun wounds,” Mwango said on Friday, still fighting back tears.
He said the officers that took him to QECH were not the ones that shot him.
Ironically, police have their own version of the story.
Limbe Police Station, which oversees Bangwe Police Sub-Station, said Mike Mwango is a burglary and theft suspect and police went to his Namiyango home to arrest him, but the shooting was “even accidental” after an officer, who had fallen down while trying to arrest him fired the rifle by accident as he tried to get up. We regret the incident,” Limbe Police deputy spokesperson Pedzisai Zembeneko said on Friday.
Asked why Mwango—whom they wanted arrested—was left at the hospital unguarded by police, Zembeneko said he was not aware of that development.
He also said he was not aware about the land dispute claim.
But Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (Chreaa) has, upon hearing about Mwango’s ordeal, demanded a thorough investigation into the shooting incident.
Chreaa executive director Victor Mhango said in a land dispute or police planning to arrest someone, the use of excessive force was unacceptable and outrageous.
Meanwhile, angry residents in Namiyango have pulled down the house of the woman who identified Mwango after his brother left the scene. And the trigger-happy police officer is reportedly at large, according to sources..n